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Oxford Omnics narrowly lose BUEC title

While most eyes were today fixed on the Varsity boat race in London, the gamers of the University tuned in to NSE_GG on twitch to watch the final of the British Universities Esport Championships (BUEC) Spring 2024. The match of interest to Oxonians: Oxford Omnics against the Warwick Angels. The game? Overwatch.

Overwatch, the current version of which was released in 2022, is a multiplayer first person “hero shooter” game, played in teams of 6. Set 60 years in the future, the name refers to a fictional UN task force, designed to combat the threat of the ‘Omnics’, robotic technology that turned against humanity. Teams represent the factions which have emerged following the ‘Omnic crisis’. Gameplay is centered around securing control of points on the map, or escorting payloads.  One team attacks, and the other defends. 

The teams faced each other only days ago in the National Universities Esports League (NUEL) Finals, which saw Warwick trump Oxford 4-2 despite many winnable moments for the latter. The Angels are the only team to have beaten the Omnics this season, and heavily favoured to take the title. They are yet to lose a series, and look likely to continue that streak, despite Oxford winning the championship last Winter 2023.

The first match – a Control game wherein teams fight to dominate locations, played on the Nepal map – went to Warwick with 2 of the 3 available points. Omnics chose the Blizzard map for the Hybrid round (capture a point, then transport a payload to the end of the map), though the Angels rapidly captured the first point, before pushing the payload through the course with 3:57 left on the clock. Their turn as the defender was similarly unsuccessful, making it to only one of the checkpoints before Warwick ran down their clock.

Following a 3 minute break, play resumed with the Push round on the Esperanza map. This sees teams attempt to take control of a robot to push a barrier towards the their teams spawn point. Despite a much stronger showing from the Omnics who came close to a victory of their own playing a Winston variant, Warwick once again took the game. 

The Angels took advantage of the next break to make a substitution, undermining the Omnics efforts to adapt to their previous hero roster and style of play. This proved devastating on the Suravasa Flashpoint map. Though Oxford exploited their chances to make progress when Warwick lost their high ground advantage, they were unable to win a single point, with their opponents taking both the game and thus the title.

Disappointing though it was to only see the teams play 4 of the possible 7 maps, it was a mercy that brought Oxford’s brutal losses to an end. Hopefully we will see them reclaim the title soon.